You are here: American University President Announcements May 18, 2020

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Memorandum May 18, 2020

AU Community
Sylvia M. Burwell, President
Office of the Provost Transition

As the eventful spring 2020 semester concludes, Provost Dan Myers is returning to the faculty full time as professor of sociology. Peter Starr, currently the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as acting provost. I want to thank Provost Myers for his leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of our students and faculty, particularly as we faced the most demanding set of challenges higher education has seen in generations. Provost Myers will conclude his current duties on June 30 and Dean Starr will begin as acting provost on July 1. 

Since joining American University in January 2019, Provost Myers played an important role in the implementation of our strategic plan, enhanced our research profile and helped set a new record for external funding, hired our first chief online officer to expand digital education opportunities, and supported the move of the School of Education to a stand-alone entity, among other accomplishments. During our COVID-19 response, he helped our faculty transition more than 2,000 classes online and supported our students with academic and technological services to facilitate online learning. I am grateful to Provost Myers for his dedication to the AU community and wish him well as he resumes his teaching and research.

With strong leadership across our eight schools and colleges and within the Office of the Provost, we will build on our momentum during this seamless transition, as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and advance our educational mission. I want to thank our deans and our faculty for their incredible work that provides our students with the high-quality instruction that is a hallmark of American University.

Given the need for continuity of leadership in this critical time for our university and our world, Dean Starr has agreed to serve as acting provost for a two-year appointment that runs through June 30, 2022. We greatly appreciate that he is taking on these expanded leadership responsibilities. A renowned scholar of French literature, he has served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and professor of literature since 2009. Dean Starr oversees AU’s largest school, with more than 400 full-time faculty in 18 departments. He has been instrumental in the development of our soon-to-open Hall of Science and the growth of the AU Museum into a leading home for the arts in the District of Columbia, including the $29 million Corcoran Legacy Collection. Before coming to American University, Dean Starr was a professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California and interim dean of USC’s College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

Looking forward, we will be working the faculty, the Faculty Senate, deans, and the entire AU community as we shape the next chapter of our academic leadership. While COVID-19 creates unprecedented changes at our university and across society, it also reinforces the need for dynamic educational opportunities that empower students to positively impact this rapidly changing world. Thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff, and our strategic vision for the future of AU, we are well-positioned to deliver on our educational and research missions in new ways that will advance knowledge, open lifelong learning opportunities for students, and contribute to the renewal of all our communities in a post-COVID world.

Please join me in thanking Provost Myers and Dean Starr for their ongoing service to American University and our community and wishing them well in their new roles.